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Green lentil, feta, Swiss chard, and pomegranate salad

Lifestyle Section - Food

cn_rh_green_lentil_swiss_chard_pomegranate_salad-MDombeya Vineyards in Stellenbosch makes spectacular wines. I know this, because I’ve been following what cellar master Rianie Strydom has been doing there for some years now. Last Thursday, I was privileged to attend a 10-year vertical tasting of Dombeya Chardonnay (06, 08, 09, 12, 13) and Dombeya Boulder Road Shiraz (06, 07, 08, 09, 12) at the estate, hosted by Rianie and MD Grant Dodd.

Vintage differences aside, what struck me with each of the wines we tasted was the precision with which they are made. They all reflect balance, sumptuous elegance, integration, length and, importantly, varietal specificity. In each instance, blind tasted, you’d know what you’re tasting.
Individually, they speak volumes of their varietal origins: the chardonnay evokes a lingering sense of Burgundy, and the shiraz a sense of the Northern Rhone, which if you listen to Rianie talk about her goals for each wine, is precisely where she wants them to be.

One of the joys of such a vertical tasting, is being able to look where younger vintages are likely to go, which puts one in the position to buy now, something you know is likely to be very good in a few years time.

For what you’re getting, cellar door prices for the two wines are ridiculous: the 2013 Chardonnay retails at R95, and the 2012 Shiraz, R96 a bottle.

Considering the amount of work that goes into producing these two wines, it’s an absolute bargain. For example, each vineyard is divided into portions, based on a satellite image which tells Rianie how the grapes will ripen, based on soil type, and into which of the wines she makes, they will go. Rianie walks the vineyards every day during harvest to ensure that fruit is picked at just the right ripeness.

“Wherever I am in the vineyard, I know whether the grapes in that part of the block will end up in a Dombeya wine or a Haskell wine (the premium range of wines produced at the same cellar, from grapes grown exclusively on the farm),” Rianie explains during the tasting, and I can’t help marvelling at the extent of detail of the picture of the vineyards she has in her head.

We rounded off the morning with a lovely lunch at the Longtable restaurant at Dombeya, and I unashamedly hi-jacked one of the lovely salads that were served for this week’s recipe.

Ingredients and Preparation
  • 1 cup (250ml) green lentils: sorted. It is not uncommon for stones to find their way into a bag of lentils, so careful sorting is indicated.
  • 100g Swiss chard: rinsed, dried and chopped
  • 1 ripe pomegranate: cut in half, gently squeeze to loosen the seeds, then rap sharply with the back of a knife over a bowl to dislodge the seeds.
  • 75g feta cheese: cubed. I use a lovely soft feta, which comes in sticks, and is ideal for use in salad
  • 10cm cucumber: cored, sliced lengthwise into eights then sliced into cubes
  • (Vinaigrette)
  • 50ml white balsamic vinegar
  • 150ml olive oil
  • 12 mint leaves: chiffonaded
  • 2.5cm fresh ginger: grated

In a medium saucepan, cover the lentils 2cm deep in water. Bring to the boil then turn down to simmer for 30 minutes, covered. Check periodically to ensure the lentils do not cook dry, and add some water if needed.

When the lentils are just cooked (they will still have a tiny bit of a “bite”, like al dente pasta) pour into a colander or sieve, and set aside to drain and cool.

Meantime, make the vinaigrette, either using the whisk method – by pouring the olive oil in a steady stream into the vinegar, while whisking briskly – or the bottle method, which entails combining all the vinaigrette ingredients in a bottle, and shaking it briskly until the dressing emulsifies.

Remember to add the chiffonaded mint and grated ginger.
Once the lentils have cooled sufficiently, put them in a salad bowl with the Swiss chard, pomegranate seeds, cucumber and feta cheese, and toss the salad gently until mixed. Pour over the vinaigrette and serve.

Preparation Time: 16minutes
Cooking Time
: 30 minutes
Yield: 4

Written by Norman McFarlane You are reading Green lentil, feta, Swiss chard, and pomegranate salad articles

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